Grimsby Town will be looking to reach round two of the Emirates FA Cup for just the second time in five seasons as they face Paul Tisdale’s side on Saturday.
We look at the five key talking points ahead of the game as Michael Jolley’s side take a break from Sky Bet League Two action in favour of the Emirates FA Cup.
Recent FA Cup draws
Town haven’t had too many FA Cup runs in recent seasons, and have reached the third round of the competition just once in the last 14 years.
The Mariners were knocked out in the third round in 2014 by then-Championship side Huddersfield Town as the Terriers twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Blundell Park.
And Town have been knocked out by a 1-0 away defeat in the first round of each of the last two campaigns – by Plymouth Argyle last season, and by Bolton Wanderers in 2016-17.
But this weekend’s opposition, MK Dons, have made it past the first round of the competition in each of the last seven seasons – and they reached the fourth round last term.
Jolley’s first ever FA Cup game
Saturday’s clash with the Dons will see Town boss Michael Jolley realise a boyhood dream as he participates in his first ever FA Cup tie.
Jolley was not in charge of the Mariners’ FA Cup game last season as he became Town boss in March 2018, and he has not previously been involved in the competition in his career.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it. When I was much younger, the FA Cup was a very prestigious and important competition and, as far as I’m concerned, it still remains so.
“When you’re very young you have aspirations as a player, but now as a coach and a manager it’s exciting to be involved.”
Dons unbeaten in five
Paul Tisdale’s side are in fine form going into Saturday’s game as they are undefeated in their last five games, with three wins and two draws, including a 4-0 away win over Crawley last weekend.
And the Dons have lost just won of their last 10 games in all competitions – a 3-0 away defeat to Luton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy last month.
But Town held Tisdale’s men, who sit second in Sky Bet League Two, to a 1-1 draw at Stadium MK earlier this season.
Dons edge recent battles
Town’s 1-1 draw with the Dons in August was the first time the two sides had met since 2008 – and just the sixth time in total – as they drew for the first time ever.
Town lost in the three meetings prior to that without scoring once, as the Mariners were beaten 2-0 twice and 1-0 once in 2007-08.
But the Mariners picked up a 2-1 away win over the Dons in April, 2007 as Danny Boshell and James Hunt grabbed the goals.
Unbeaten at Blundell Park since September
Jolley’s side lost 2-1 to Mansfield Town on Tuesday as the Mariners fell to a third straight defeat in Sky Bet League Two.
But despite the Mariners’ form in the last couple of weeks, Town’s recent home record shows signs of encouragement.
Jolley’s side are unbeaten at Blundell Park since September, and kept clean sheets in the wins over Port Vale and Colchester United, as well as the goalless draw with Exeter City.
And Town will be hoping for more of the same on Saturday if they’re to progress to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.
What are your predictions for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with MK Dons? Tweet us at @OfficialGTFC!